According to Webster’s Dictionary, a “diet” is both “habitual nourishment; food and drink regularly provided or consumed” AND “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly to reduce one’s weight”.  See, we all have a diet, but not all of us are “dieting”.  It’s part of why I prefer to be called a registered nutritionist instead of a “dietitian” – I think people immediately think of dieting, restricting, something unpleasant, something temporary.

At CoreLife, we don’t believe one’s diet should be temporary. Or unpleasant. Or really all that difficult. We believe a person’s diet should do more than merely sustain them. It should be enjoyable, doable, nourishing for body and soul. If whatever you current “diet” is doesn’t do all these things, doesn’t make you look forward to meals, to social gatherings, to special events, if it doesn’t make you feel good about your body and improve or maintain your health, well, to me, that’s not a very good diet at all. I know, how can this be? How can you possibly balance the two sides of food, the pleasurable and the healthy? How can you lose weight, improve your health, and still enjoy the food you consume while doing it?

Well, first, we believe in moderation; moderation in all things, including moderation. This means there are really no such things as “no” foods for me. There is no 100% healthy all the time diet that I recommend. My own personal philosophy and approach is more of a 95/5. On any given day, I aim to make 95% of my food choices really healthy (but still tasty) options, and 5% of them whatever I feel like. Some days I don’t use my full 5%. Some days I go way overboard. But at the end of the entire week, month, etc., my normal “diet” breaks down into a pretty good 95/5 split.  Are there days I’d rather choose fries as my “veggie” than spinach? Sure, but I know that I can make the spinach taste good and it will be better for me. Yea, the fries will taste good, but I’ll feel less energized after, I’ll feel like I could have made a better choice, I might even enjoy the salad more because not only is better for my body, but I’ll feel good about having made the choice.

Why is this so important? Why can’t you just “diet” for a bit, lose the weight you want, and then do whatever again? Well, first off, yo-yo dieting, where you lose weight only to gain it back and then do it all over again, has often been shown to be significantly worse overall for one’s health than just being overweight.  This means that in an effort to improve your health, you may actually cause more damage because it was temporary and fleeting. Additionally, your taste buds actually die off and get replaced with fresh cells every 3 weeks. What does this have to do with anything? Well, a food you tasted 3 weeks ago will literally be tasted “differently” now then it was back then. This means that if you’re used to over-salted, over-processed, very sugary, etc. foods, the natural sweetness and nuances of fresh, whole, real foods could be totally lost on your palate. Going back and forth from healthy foods to less healthy options makes it difficult for your taste buds to ever really acclimate to the natural foods, which can make your perceived taste of them quite skewed.

So, what’s the “best” approach? I coach a “diet” that you can do…your whole life, and enjoy doing it! My aim is to help clients find that balance of healthy and indulgence, improving their health without sacrificing the pleasure of food. I advocate for as much real, whole, unprocessed foods as possible, allowing your body to get the full effect of nature’s benefits, from taste and freshness, to nutrients. I like to talk about how to get the most from your meals and snacks, making it work for your health, your waist-line, and your enjoyment. Something I regularly repeat to my clients is this: If you walk out of our appointment feeling like you can do what we talked about for a week, or even a month, but not longer than that, we probably haven’t come up with the right fit for you. My goal is to help you find an approach to food that will last a lifetime, one you enjoy, you can benefit from, you can share with your family. If we don’t get that in our first meeting, come back! We’ll tweak it and figure out how to make it better, how to make it yours. There is no one-size-fits-all “diet”, but we can certainly find one that fits you.

We know in this day and age of instant gratification, it’s tough not to want an immediate change, an immediate answer, a “magic bullet” that will just solve all the problems. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. So, if you’re coming in to see us hoping we have some secret for weight loss, some quick fix, you’re going to be disappointed. We can, however, help you make the changes, support you in the journey, and offer our advice, wisdom, and skills to try to find the best approach for you as quickly as possible. Your life at this moment is a sum of all the choices you made and didn’t make up to this point; let us help you make some new decisions today that will get you on the path you want to be on for the rest of your life.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN